[QUOTE]Platooning is increasingly in vogue in this era of pitching prominence and diminished offensive returns....
Last season, according to Elias Sports Bureau, players batted in favorable matchups (right-handed batters against left-handed pitchers, and players vice versa) 56 percent of the time, the highest such percentage since 1995 (57) and an indication, perhaps, of the measures teams are taking to eke more efficiency and efficacy out of their offenses at a time when runs per game and league-wide batting averages have dipped to their lowest levels in decades.
Not so surprisingly, the A's were right near the top, with 70.5% of their 2013 PAs under conditions that favored the hitter. More surprisingly, were the Indians, who edged out the A's at 70.6%, and the Twins, who were 5th at 60.4%. I think the Twins number was artificially inflated with all the switch hitters employed, as there wasn't any obvious platooning going on. By contrast, the A's are planning on platooning at 4 positions, and the White Sox, who finished at the bottom of the AL in favorable batting conditions, is now planning on full-time platooning at 3 positions in 2014.
Strategic "position sharing" is a concept whose time has apparently arrived:
[QUOTE]Pure production, as you might have noticed from a winter in which three position players (Shin-Soo Choo, Jacoby Ellsbury and Robinson Cano) signed contracts of $130 million or more, can be awfully expensive. That's why such small-market clubs as the A's and Rays have long made a habit of maximizing the potential of their rosters through the use of timeshares.
But this winter we're seeing several of the big spenders -- ...-- toy with, if not outright embrace, the idea as well.
And it's why Danny Valencia might emerge as importance insurance for a Royals team with so much riding on Mike Moustakas, who has endured Ryan Howard-like struggles against southpaws thus far in his career. It's why the White Sox might squeeze one more effective season out of Paul Konerko, who will platoon with Adam Dunn at DH.
Indians manager, Terry Francona, the 2013 champion of using the platoon advantage, summed up the impediments to successful implementation:
[QUOTE]"I think every manager would like to do it," Indians manager Terry Francona said. "You just can't always do it. You can't ever forget that they're people. So that's part of the communication. It's getting guys to understand that we're a team, and it's not all about personal numbers."
Regardless, the Twins could benefit by arming Gardy with consideration of every potential and available platoon option that can possibly upgrade this underpowered 4-cylinder offense to at least a (Not So) Straight 6 engine. (To answer the bullpen-overuse concerns from the loss of ML pitching option, use more pitchers with options remaining as your depth, and shuttle them back and forth from Rochester).
Edited by jokin, 01 February 2014 - 11:52 PM.